Trail Blazers could be suitors for free agent DeAndre Ayton

phoenix suns Center Deandre Ayton may not return to the Phoenix Suns next season, according to a report and analysis from ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski. Appearing on ESPN’s NBA Today show, Wojnarowski reminded viewers that Ayton “didn’t feel his worth” in Phoenix earlier in the season. He also speculated that Ayton would receive top-level offers from other NBA teams, which the Suns might not be interested in.

The 6-foot-11 center is averaging 17.2 points and 10.2 rebounds in 29.5 minutes for the Suns this season in 58 regular-season games. He’s shooting 63.4 percent from the field and 36.8 percent from 3-point range, though the latter numbers came on limited attempts.His shooting and scoring stats stay the same for 13 games in 2022 NBA playoffs, although his rebounds dropped slightly to 8.9 per game.Phoenix lost in seven games Dallas Mavericks They found their feet in the second round of the playoffs.

Having just completed his fourth year with the Suns, Ayton will become a restricted free agent this July. The Suns will have the right to match any offers he receives from opposing teams.

Here’s a transcript of Wojnarowski’s comments:

Coming into the season, DeAndre Ayton didn’t feel like this Phoenix team was taking it seriously. They failed to reach an agreement on his rookie extension. He saw all the other players in his class, or many of the top players, get extensions. He wants a max contract. He won’t stop there. So now that he moved to restricted free agency this summer, he will now have more options. But in the end, if he signs an offer sheet with another team, Phoenix can still match the offer and keep him…

You have to look at teams with cap space. For example, teams like Oklahoma City, San Antonio, Portland. Can create enough cap space to sign his team. There’s also talk of sign-and-trade, which means teams may not have cap space. If Phoenix decides to get the assets back for Deandre Ayton – they don’t want to match the offer and either decide to pay him the maximum amount or let him go for nothing, which I don’t think they’re going to do – in the league There will be many conversations. Deandre Ayton will be on the market for a max contract somewhere. Phoenix really has to look at the distribution financially, how they want to distribute the salary, the money. That’s it.

The relationship with Monty Williams is one of the real benefits. I think they have the ability to work together and build a relationship and it will be interesting to see how the end of the season affects that. But that’s going to be one of the stories this offseason, because Deandre Ayton, there’s a lot of teams lining up trying to figure out, “How do we get him?”

Wojnarowski mentioned the Blazers as a team with the potential to make cap space to make an offer to Ayton. At the start of free agency, they will have no space available. To get enough clearance to make Ayton the top offer, with a projected starting salary of $30.5 million, the Blazers would need to waive their current free agency rights and/or get out of a non-guaranteed contract. Names involved include Jusuf Nurkic, Anfernee Simons, Josh Hart, Joe Ingles and Eric Bledsoe.

Alternatively, the Blazers could explore the possibility of a sign-and-trade, keeping their own players and then moving the assets to Phoenix when the Suns re-sign Ayton.

Jeremy Brener Ask readers if they are interested A well-timed post on Ayton earlier today.

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